Ice Cream Man Vol. 4: Tiny Lives
W. Maxwell Prince, writer; Martín Morazzo, art; Chris O'Halloran, colors
Image Comics, 2019

After Vol. 3's look at the relationship between the Ice Cream Man and his nemesis Caleb (the cowboy), this is another installment that tells stand alone stories in which the title character is barely seen. "Palindromes" is exactly what it says: a story that can be read either forwards or backwards. A clever concept, which even extends to some of the character dialog ("Never, Odd or Even"). The story is about a grieving man who questions the possibility of moving forward, so I suppose that the palindrome also serves as a metaphor for his condition. Another story is about a man obsessed with puzzle solving who finally realizes he has been neglecting his marriage (which saves his wife's life from a team of monstrous contractors, though neither of them know it). Then there's the young woman plagued by dreams and visions who winds up in an asylum. The most haunting story is saved for last. It's about a single father who discovers that his daughter is a serial killer (he's been reading her diary, and at first he just thought she was becoming sexually active). He steps in and takes responsibility for her crimes, and the issue closes with his final letter to her from Death Row. The collection ends with alternate covers, character designs, and a list of all of the linguistic palindromes used in the first chapter.

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